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Spring 2025 Seminar

Originalism and Its Discontents

Prerequisites: (A) One prior course on American constitutional law, and (B) one prior course on constitutional law, federal courts, administrative law, jurisprudence, or legislation / statutory interpretation. This prerequisite may be satisfied by equivalent coursework or waived with permission of the instructor.

Exam Type: No Exam

Originalism is a major school of constitutional interpretation and an important field of study. Legal discussions and public debates regularly feature originalist arguments or criticisms of originalism. To engage these arguments, lawyers and citizens need to weigh the merits of a diverse set of originalist theories. This two-hour weekly seminar, focused on class discussion of the readings and response papers, is designed to acquaint you with originalist and nonoriginalist arguments; enable you to assess their strengths; and give you an opportunity to sharpen your own views.